Favourite Opening Lines

By the time that we finish reading most books, the opening lines have already vanished from our memory. A selected few, however, linger on, long after we close the books and start new ones. They remain forever imprinted in our mind. My favourites are long and short, summarise the premise of the book or just leave readers wondering. There’s not a specific characteristic that distinguishes all of them.

 

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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The Translated Literature Book Tag

I’ve only done a couple of tags since starting this blog around three years ago. For no particular reason other than most of the times I can’t come up with answers to the questions, it’s usually not the type of content that I write. But when I was tagged by Callum to do the Translated Literature Book Tag, created by Diana, for once many books started to spring to mind to answer almost all of the queries.

In the context of this tag, I think it’s important to mention that I can read fluently in Portuguese and English. So, I now only read translations of books originally written in other languages besides those two. But, without further ado, let’s get into the questions.

 

  1. A translated novel you would recommend to everyone

No book can please everyone, so I can’t promise that you will all like my pick for this question. However, as Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch (translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett) mixes a crime story with musings on writing and fiction, I believe that it’s a book that readers of a wide variety of genres may appreciate. A murder is used to justify why reality and fiction have to differ. The story is told from various perspectives, and certain elements are introduced at specific moments to surprise the readers. Continue reading

On Adaptations: Are the Books Always Better?

Whenever a new film or TV adaptation is announced, it isn’t difficult to find someone saying that the books are always better. That is a statement that I’ve never agreed with. The vast majority of the adaptations that I’ve watched, I enjoyed as much as the books. Some I even liked more than the books. Although it’s true that I believe that some adaptations may not do a book justice, this is far from the rule for me.

I really struggle to claim that a book is better than its adaptation, or vice versa, mainly because I would be comparing two completely different forms of entertainment, which require different ways of storytelling. What works fantastically on page may not work on screen. I tend to compare the enjoyment I had when reading the book or watching the film or TV adaptation instead of saying one is better than the other. The fact that I liked reading about a story more than watching it on screen doesn’t automatically make the adaptation a bad one.

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad adaptations. If the adaptation completely misrepresents the feelings, the tone or the entire plot of the story to the point that it stops making sense, then it is not only a bad adaptation but also a bad film or TV show. I don’t expect all the plot points to be presented on screen in the exactly same way in which they were written. I don’t mind changes on adaptations at all, as long as they make sense in the context of the story being told, or they result in a more compelling story on screen. Continue reading

Favourite Supporting Characters

The most famous or loved characters in books usually are the protagonists. However, a fascinating book wouldn’t be the same without captivating supporting characters. They have a significant role when it comes to add depth to the story and even to the protagonists. Being a supporting character doesn’t mean being secondary to the protagonist or less important. In fact, they usually help us to better understand the main characters.

When I first decided to write about this topic, I thought it would be quite easy to choose my favourite supporting characters. But I was quite wrong for a couple of reasons. First, it isn’t always easy to establish if a character has a main or a supporting role. And second, too many characters sprang to mind. Nevertheless, I managed to select six among the myriad of possibilities.

 

Levin – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The main story in Anna Karenina centres around Anna and Vronsky, so I consider Levin to be a supporting character. However, I could read an entire book just about him. He’s one of the most enthralling characters in my opinion, because it’s mainly through him that we get to know more about Russian society and politics, and his internal struggle to adjust to having a family (and it not being perfect) is rather thought-provoking.   Continue reading

Longest Books I Have Read

Longer books can be more intimidating than shorter ones, as they take longer to read and require more commitment. However, once in a while I quite like to immerse myself into a long book for a few weeks. It feels like an alternative life that complements our real one, since the characters are usually more developed and the plot more detailed.

I turned my bookcase upside down to discover which were the longest books I have ever read.

 

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – 1006 pages

The story of two practical magicians, who restore magic to England during the time of the French Invasions, is quite an entertaining read. The amount of details on magic and the various footnotes transform this novel into an alternative history tale. You can read my full review here. Continue reading

Favourite Love Stories

To celebrate Valentine’s day, I decided to reveal some of my favourite love stories featured in novels. I usually don’t read books that focus solely on a love story with nothing more happening throughout the plot besides the couple trying to get together or solve any problems they may have. I enjoy books featuring loves stories, but they have to be accompanied by a compelling plot, witticism, an interesting historical background, an epic adventure, or an array of complex characters.

I will try not to reveal many significant plot points about the books I am about to mention, but in order to convey my thoughts on some of the relationships I can’t completely avoid spoilers. So, if you haven’t read the following books and really don’t want to know too many things about them, it’s better not to read the short texts under my choices.

In no special order, these are some of my favourite love stories featured in books: Continue reading